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“Kazakhstan gears up for presidential polls”, “Kerry says US willing to negotiate with Syria's Assad” , "France doesn’t recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s “independence”, Ambassador says", “The Slumbering Steppe”,

March 16 2015, 14:19

aninews.in. “Kazakhstan gears up for presidential polls” - Kazakhstan is gearing up for presidential elections again, and in anticipation of this April 26 event, incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev, has accepted the nomination to contest from the nation's ruling Nur Otan Party. Cutting across party lines, politicians and academicians have unanimously described him as a worthy candidate for the post, and in the last week, when the proposal was put to a vote, it was supported by all 1200 Congress delegates, which was indicative of the huge popularity he enjoys.

trend.az. "France doesn’t recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s “independence”, Ambassador says" - The ambassador of France in Azerbaijan, Pascal Monnier, told Trend on March 6 that his country doesn’t recognize the “independence” of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, which is occupied by Armenia. The ambassador’s comments came in the wake of remarks made by three members of the so-called France-Nagorno-Karabakh parliamentary friendship group - the senators Sophie Joissains and Michel Amiel, and the mayor of the town of Bourg-les-Valence, Marlene Mourier.

al-jazeera.com. “Kerry says US willing to negotiate with Syria's Assad” - Washington and allies exploring options to bring Assad back to the table, Kerry says on fourth anniversary of conflict. The United States will have to negotiate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a political transition in Syria and explore ways to pressure him into agreeing to talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said. In the interview broadcast on CBS News on Sunday, Kerry did not repeat the standard US line that Assad had lost all legitimacy and had to go. 

eurasianet.org. “The Slumbering Steppe” - Unable to find the cause of a mysterious sleeping sickness in a small village in northern Kazakhstan, the government has decided to move the villagers out of Kalachi to prevent exposure to what is clearly a health hazard. One day last summer, Viktor Kazachenko set off across the steppe from his village in northern Kazakhstan, driving to the nearest town on some errands – but he never arrived. “My brain switched off,” he says. “That’s it. I don’t remember.” Kazachenko had been hit by a mysterious sleeping sickness that is plaguing Kalachi, a remote village 500 kilometers west of the capital Astana. The malady has sent residents into comas lasting days on end.

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